Tickford turns to The Bend to halt 'tyre-eating' woes

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 07/05/2021
  • By James Pavey

A return to a happy hunting ground in The Bend Motorsport Park could be the tonic for Tickford Racing as it aims to end Ford’s winless streak.

Cameron Waters won the Blue Oval’s last race, which coincidentally came at The Bend last September.

Mustangs have gone nine races without a win since, with Shane van Gisbergen piecing together seven straight wins between last October’s Bathurst 1000 and the last-start Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint.

Waters, who lies fourth in the standings, fell further behind championship leader van Gisbergen at Symmons Plains, despite claiming two pole positions at the Tasmania circuit.

WATCH: WATERS WINS AT THE BEND IN 2020

The Monster Energy Mustang pilot was well-placed in all three races to win, but failed to reach the podium after late-race fades due to poor tyre life.

With the smooth Tailem Bend venue a vastly different challenge, and with Mustangs the form model at the circuit, Waters was confident his team will again have a strong package at The Bend.

"I’m super pumped to get to The Bend, a much different track to Tasmania, and obviously [we got] our last race win there,” said Waters, who is the fastest average qualifier through the 2021 season’s first eight races.

“[While] It was the short track we won on last year, I’m really keen to get back to the long one and I think we’ll have a strong car there.

Waters fell short at Symmons Plains

"The Bend is obviously very fast and flowing, a lot higher grip levels than, say, what Tassie was. A lot less [tyre] deg, so coming off our car eating its tyres at Tassie, it’s probably a good track to go to for us, and pretty close to Mildura also.

"I’ll have a lot of family and friends there, so it’ll be cool to get there.”

Australia’s newest permanent racing circuit, The Bend is the second-longest circuit on the Supercars calendar.

The 4.95km International Circuit layout is an engineer’s nightmare, with its grand prix-style flowing speed corners to push the Dunlop Soft Tyres to the limit.

WATCH: WATERS MONSTERED AT SYMMONS PLAINS

Tickford expands from three to four cars for the weekend, with 2020 Dunlop Super2 Series champion Thomas Randle to contest his first of three wildcard events aboard a Castrol Mustang.

Randle, who made his main game debut at The Bend as a wildcard in 2019, will provide the Ford team with another crucial opportunity to accrue data.

For Randle, who explained to Supercars.com the crucial understanding taken from his 2019 wildcard showing, the two-day weekend will be a key challenge to understand team and car as he eyes a full-time seat in 2022.

"I really can’t wait to get back into the Castrol Racing Mustang, for the first time I actually get to race it this weekend,” he said.

WATCH: RANDLE TESTS WILDCARD CAR AT WINTON

"It’s just going to be an awesome feeling to be back racing against the big boys, I mean it’s the pinnacle of Australian racing, driving in the Supercars Championship.

"I just want to make sure I can do everything right on my end, extract all the maximums out of what I’m doing in the car, and trying to work well with my engineer, Ray [Lau] and all the guys.

"It’s a two-day event, it’s very short and sharp stuff. You don’t have long between practice, qualifying, and the races, so I think it’s just important [that] we just try and maximise everything and tick all the boxes.”

Supercars will hit the track for the OTR SuperSprint on Saturday morning. Tickets are on sale now.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo with highlights on 7 and 7 Plus.

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Repco Supercars Championship Newsletter